“It seemed like we might finally have an answer to the question we’ve all been asking: when is email going to start working like the rest of our apps?”
Google recently announced the Gmail API which will allow developers to access Gmail’s information for use in their apps, via modern programming languages. In a time where apps are king, this has huge implications for email, and may just prove to be the “savior” of the arguably antiquated ways that email functions currently.
"Google’s intent is really to power apps and services that make use of email data, but aren’t trying to be email clients.”
Currently email applications can only communicate with IMAP, making them clunky and hard to integrate with. This Gmail API, while not meant to replace IMAP and email applications, will allow other apps to easily grab and use data from Gmail.
“This might mean we’re going to start seeing a whole new variety of email apps to let us interact with the enormous repositories of professional and personal emails that we’ve had longer than we've used any social network.”
Even though email applications are currently slow and difficult to deal with, our email houses enormous amounts of information, contacts and data that we need and use on a daily basis. The Gmail API allows apps to be built that can easily access all of that information and present it in ways that are more familiar to today’s easy to use and popular applications. Calendar apps can quickly scan Gmail for flight confirmations, event invitations and other schedule based emails. Messaging apps could easily pull contact information from the vast lists of email contacts that most people have acquired. Email management tools are reducing their developing time by weeks and months because the new API is so much easier than working with traditional IMAP configurations.
“Now, accessing Gmail data like contacts, emails, and even sending messages is accessible to anyone — assuming you’ve given their app the permission to integrate with Gmail.”
Integrating the Gmail API is certainly not going to be the death of email, but will expand and improve its functionality. With the amount of applications that can potentially be integrated with email now, there will be countless new opportunities for companies and professionals that use email on a large scale basis.